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World Cup 2018: Philippe Coutinho curler gives Brazil lead over Switzerland

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Philippe Coutinho’s curled strike gives Brazil the lead over Switzerland in the Group E fixture at the 2018 World Cup.

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Swiss hold favourites Brazil after Coutinho stunner

Zuber headed Brazil level early in the second half

Pre-tournament favourites Brazil failed to win their opening game of a World Cup for the first time since 1978 as Switzerland earned a valuable draw in Rostov-on-Don.

The five-time champions, so often lauded for their flair, failed to sparkle after Philippe Coutinho’s superbly curled opener on 20 minutes.

Tite’s side – with Gabriel Jesus and Willian alongside Neymar in a front three – could offer only fleeting moments of fluid play and Steven Zuber’s header from a corner earned the Swiss a deserved point.

Brazil may point to a push by Zuber to free him from his marker but the fact Coutinho’s strike remained their only effort on target until 77 minutes points to their struggles in the final third.

The draw brings to an end a run of nine wins in their opening World Cup fixture and both sides now trail Serbia, who beat Costa Rica earlier in Group E.

More to follow.

Line-ups

Brazil

  • 1Alisson
  • 14Danilo
  • 2Thiago Silva
  • 3Miranda
  • 12Marcelo
  • 15PaulinhoSubstituted forRenato Augustoat 67′minutes
  • 5CasemiroBooked at 47minsSubstituted forFernandinhoat 60′minutes
  • 11Coutinho
  • 19Willian
  • 9Gabriel JesusSubstituted forRoberto Firminoat 79′minutes
  • 10Neymar

Substitutes

  • 4Geromel
  • 6Filipe Luís
  • 7Douglas Costa
  • 8Renato Augusto
  • 13Marquinhos
  • 16Cássio
  • 17Fernandinho
  • 20Roberto Firmino
  • 21Barcellos Freda
  • 22Fagner
  • 23Ederson

Switzerland

  • 1Sommer
  • 2LichtsteinerBooked at 31minsSubstituted forLangat 87′minutes
  • 22SchärBooked at 65mins
  • 5Akanji
  • 13Rodríguez
  • 11BehramiBooked at 68minsSubstituted forZakariaat 71′minutes
  • 10Xhaka
  • 23Shaqiri
  • 15Dzemaili
  • 14Zuber
  • 9SeferovicSubstituted forEmboloat 80′minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Moubandje
  • 4Elvedi
  • 6Lang
  • 7Embolo
  • 8Freuler
  • 12Mvogo
  • 16Fernandes
  • 17Zakaria
  • 18Gavranovic
  • 19Drmic
  • 20Djourou
  • 21Bürki
Referee:
César Arturo Ramos Palazuelos

Match Stats

Home TeamBrazilAway TeamSwitzerland
Possession
Home55%
Away45%
Shots
Home21
Away6
Shots on Target
Home5
Away2
Corners
Home7
Away2
Fouls
Home11
Away19

Live Text

Posted at

Match ends, Brazil 1, Switzerland 1.

Full Time

Posted at 90’+7′

Second Half ends, Brazil 1, Switzerland 1.

Posted at 90’+7′

Foul by Roberto Firmino (Brazil).

Posted at 90’+7′

Manuel Akanji (Switzerland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 90’+6′

Corner, Brazil. Conceded by Ricardo Rodríguez.

Posted at 90’+6′

Attempt blocked. Renato Augusto (Brazil) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is blocked.

Posted at 90’+5′

Neymar (Brazil) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Posted at 90’+5′

Foul by Denis Zakaria (Switzerland).

Posted at 90’+4′

Neymar (Brazil) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Posted at 90’+4′

Foul by Michael Lang (Switzerland).

Posted at 90’+4′

Foul by Thiago Silva (Brazil).

Posted at 90’+4′

Blerim Dzemaili (Switzerland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 90’+2′

Foul by Fernandinho (Brazil).

Posted at 90’+2′

Breel Embolo (Switzerland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Posted at 90’+1′

Attempt missed. Miranda (Brazil) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left following a corner.

Posted at 90’+1′

Corner, Brazil. Conceded by Michael Lang.

Posted at 90′

Attempt saved. Roberto Firmino (Brazil) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Neymar with a cross.

Posted at 90′

Neymar (Brazil) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Posted at 90′

Foul by Michael Lang (Switzerland).

Posted at 89′

Attempt missed. Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

Posted at 88′

Renato Augusto (Brazil) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Posted at 88′

Foul by Breel Embolo (Switzerland).

Posted at 88′

Attempt saved. Neymar (Brazil) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Willian with a cross.

Substitution

Posted at 87′

Substitution, Switzerland. Michael Lang replaces Stephan Lichtsteiner because of an injury.

Posted at 87′

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Posted at 86′

Delay in match Stephan Lichtsteiner (Switzerland) because of an injury.

Posted at 86′

Neymar (Brazil) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Posted at 86′

Foul by Granit Xhaka (Switzerland).

Posted at 82′

Attempt missed. Roberto Firmino (Brazil) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high.

Substitution

Posted at 80′

Substitution, Switzerland. Breel Embolo replaces Haris Seferovic.

Posted at 80′

Danilo (Brazil) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Posted at 80′

Foul by Steven Zuber (Switzerland).

Substitution

Posted at 79′

Substitution, Brazil. Roberto Firmino replaces Gabriel Jesus.

Posted at 79′

Fernandinho (Brazil) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 79′

Foul by Blerim Dzemaili (Switzerland).

Posted at 78′

Attempt saved. Neymar (Brazil) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Marcelo.

Posted at 77′

Attempt missed. Fernandinho (Brazil) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Coutinho.

Posted at 75′

Foul by Coutinho (Brazil).

Posted at 75′

Xherdan Shaqiri (Switzerland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 75′

Neymar (Brazil) wins a free kick on the left wing.

goal

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Dare to dream? In a parallel universe, it's 15 July and England have just won the World Cup

[unable to retrieve full-text content]BBC Sport imagines what would happen if England actually went all the way and won the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

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Dare to dream? In a parallel universe, it's 15 July and England have just won the World Cup

[unable to retrieve full-text content]BBC Sport imagines what would happen if England actually went all the way and won the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

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World Cup 2018: Wild celebrations as Mexico beat holders Germany

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Mexico stun World Champions Germany, beating them 1-0 in their opening group game prompting wild celebrations from Mexican fans.

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World Cup 2018: Brazil v Switzerland – rate the players

Follow live coverage of Brazil v Switzerland herehelpHow to playRate players out of 10 throughout or after the game. The rater will close 30 minutes after the final whistle.Rating range key1 = Give it up10 = Pure perfectionBrazilBrazilBrazilSwitzerland…

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World Cup 2018: Brilliant Mexico stun champions Germany

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Defending champions Germany made a disastrous start to their bid to win back-to-back World Cups with a shock defeat by Mexico.

Hirving Lozano’s first-half goal was the difference between the two sides in an enthralling encounter in Moscow, but the surprising result was not the only concern for Germany coach Joachim Low.

His disjointed side looked extraordinarily vulnerable on the break even before Javier Hernandez punished them with the pass that set up Lozano to cut inside fire home.

Toni Kroos almost replied instantly with a free-kick but Guillermo Ochoa tipped it on to the bar and that was the closest Germany came to an equaliser.

Despite facing some sustained late pressure, Mexico held on to inflict a first World Cup defeat on Die Mannschaft since they lost to Spain in the 2010 semi-final.

This was also the first time a German side had lost their opening game of this tournament since 1982, when West Germany were upset by Algeria.

It could turn out to be a damaging defeat too. Although Germany will still be expected to beat Sweden and South Korea and progress, the runner-up in Group F will face a last-16 tie against the Group E winner, expected to be Brazil.

More to follow.

Line-ups

Germany

  • 1Neuer
  • 18Kimmich
  • 17Boateng
  • 5HummelsBooked at 84mins
  • 2PlattenhardtSubstituted forGomezat 79′minutes
  • 6KhediraSubstituted forReusat 60′minutes
  • 8Kroos
  • 13MüllerBooked at 83mins
  • 10Özil
  • 7Draxler
  • 9WernerSubstituted forBrandtat 86′minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Ginter
  • 11Reus
  • 12Trapp
  • 14Goretzka
  • 15Süle
  • 16Rüdiger
  • 19Rudy
  • 20Brandt
  • 21Gündogan
  • 22ter Stegen
  • 23Gomez

Mexico

  • 13Ochoa
  • 3Salcedo
  • 2Ayala
  • 15MorenoBooked at 40mins
  • 23Gallardo
  • 16HerreraBooked at 90mins
  • 18GuardadoSubstituted forMárquezat 74′minutes
  • 7Layún
  • 11VelaSubstituted forÁlvarezat 58′minutes
  • 22LozanoSubstituted forJiménezat 66′minutes
  • 14Javier Hernández

Substitutes

  • 1J Corona
  • 4Márquez
  • 5Gutiérrez
  • 6J dos Santos
  • 8Fabián
  • 9Jiménez
  • 10G dos Santos
  • 12Talavera
  • 17JM Corona
  • 19Peralta
  • 20Aquino
  • 21Álvarez
Referee:
Alireza Faghani
Attendance:
78,011

Match Stats

Home TeamGermanyAway TeamMexico
Possession
Home67%
Away33%
Shots
Home26
Away13
Shots on Target
Home9
Away4
Corners
Home8
Away1
Fouls
Home10
Away16

Live Text

Posted at

Match ends, Germany 0, Mexico 1.

Full Time

Posted at 90’+4′

Second Half ends, Germany 0, Mexico 1.

Posted at 90’+3′

Offside, Mexico. Guillermo Ochoa tries a through ball, but Héctor Herrera is caught offside.

Posted at 90’+2′

Corner, Germany. Conceded by Edson Álvarez.

Posted at 90’+2′

Joshua Kimmich (Germany) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 90’+2′

Foul by Raúl Jiménez (Mexico).

Posted at 90′

Attempt saved. Jérôme Boateng (Germany) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Joshua Kimmich.

Booking

Posted at 90′

Héctor Herrera (Mexico) is shown the yellow card.

Posted at 90′

Jérôme Boateng (Germany) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 90′

Foul by Héctor Herrera (Mexico).

Posted at 89′

Julian Brandt (Germany) hits the left post with a right footed shot from outside the box. Assisted by Joshua Kimmich.

Posted at 89′

Attempt saved. Mario Gomez (Germany) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the top left corner.

Posted at 87′

Attempt missed. Mario Gomez (Germany) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Joshua Kimmich with a cross.

Posted at 86′

Foul by Jérôme Boateng (Germany).

Posted at 86′

Chicharito (Mexico) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Posted at 86′

Substitution, Germany. Julian Brandt replaces Timo Werner.

Posted at 86′

Attempt blocked. Mario Gomez (Germany) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Mesut Özil with a cross.

Posted at 85′

Toni Kroos (Germany) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 85′

Foul by Héctor Herrera (Mexico).

Booking

Posted at 84′

Mats Hummels (Germany) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Posted at 84′

Foul by Mats Hummels (Germany).

Posted at 84′

Edson Álvarez (Mexico) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 84′

Attempt saved. Toni Kroos (Germany) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Julian Draxler.

Booking

Posted at 83′

Thomas Müller (Germany) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Posted at 83′

Foul by Thomas Müller (Germany).

Posted at 83′

Héctor Herrera (Mexico) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 82′

Attempt missed. Miguel Layún (Mexico) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Jesús Gallardo following a fast break.

Substitution

Posted at 79′

Substitution, Germany. Mario Gomez replaces Marvin Plattenhardt.

Posted at 79′

Attempt blocked. Mesut Özil (Germany) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Thomas Müller with a headed pass.

Posted at 78′

Attempt missed. Miguel Layún (Mexico) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Rafael Márquez following a fast break.

Posted at 77′

Corner, Germany. Conceded by Héctor Herrera.

Posted at 77′

Corner, Germany. Conceded by Edson Álvarez.

Posted at 77′

Attempt blocked. Julian Draxler (Germany) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Thomas Müller.

Posted at 76′

Attempt missed. Toni Kroos (Germany) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Joshua Kimmich.

Posted at 74′

Julian Draxler (Germany) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 74′

Foul by Edson Álvarez (Mexico).

Substitution

Posted at 74′

Substitution, Mexico. Rafael Márquez replaces Andrés Guardado.

Posted at 73′

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Posted at 72′

Delay in match Jesús Gallardo (Mexico) because of an injury.

Posted at 71′

Attempt missed. Marco Reus (Germany) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is close, but misses the top right corner.

goal

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World Cup 2018: Hirving Lozano scores 'brilliant' opener for Mexico

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Hirving Lozano strikes a low shot to give Mexico the lead against Germany in the Group F opener at the 2018 World Cup.

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World Cup 2018: Germany v Mexico – rate the players

Follow live coverage of Germany v Mexico herehelpHow to playRate players out of 10 throughout or after the game. The rater will close 30 minutes after the final whistle.Rating range key1 = Give it up10 = Pure perfectionGermanyGermanyGermanyMexicoMexico…

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Kolarov's stunning free-kick gives Serbia victory over Costa Rica

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Aleksandar Kolarov curled in a spectacular free-kick to give Serbia a deserved victory in their opening World Cup Group E match against Costa Rica.

Serbia captain Kolarov – the former Manchester City defender – scored from 25 yards when he curled the ball over the Costa Rica wall.

Kolarov’s effort had sufficient bend to find the top corner with Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas clutching at thin air as he desperately scrambled across goal.

Costa Rica only sporadically threatened the Serbia goal, with an early header over the crossbar from unmarked defender Giancarlo Gonzalez their best effort.

With games against Brazil and Switzerland to come, this was a key match for both nations to press their credentials to reach the knockout stages.

Mladen Krstajic’s Serbia side – the lowest ranked European nation at Russia 2018 – now appear best placed to progress after a dominant second-half display.

The margin of victory would have been greater had Navas not narrowed the angle to deny Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic after he had been sent clear by the impressive Sergej Milinkovic-Savic earlier in the game.

Serbia’s Nemanja Matic, meanwhile, was involved in an ugly confrontation with a member of the Costa Rica coaching staff in injury time as the Manchester United midfielder tried to retrieve the ball after it went out of play.

More to follow.

Line-ups

Costa Rica

  • 1Navas
  • 2Acosta
  • 3González
  • 6Duarte
  • 16Gamboa
  • 5Borges
  • 20GuzmánBooked at 56minsSubstituted forColindresat 73′minutes
  • 15CalvoBooked at 22mins
  • 10Ruiz
  • 11VenegasSubstituted forBolañosat 60′minutes
  • 21UreñaSubstituted forCampbellat 67′minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Smith
  • 7Bolaños
  • 8Oviedo
  • 9Colindres
  • 12Campbell
  • 13Wallace
  • 14Azofeifa
  • 17Tejeda
  • 18Pemberton
  • 19Waston
  • 22Gutiérrez
  • 23Moreira

Serbia

  • 1Stojkovic
  • 6IvanovicBooked at 59mins
  • 15Milenkovic
  • 3Tosic
  • 11Kolarov
  • 4Milivojevic
  • 21Matic
  • 10TadicSubstituted forRukavinaat 83′minutes
  • 20Milinkovic-Savic
  • 22LjajicSubstituted forKosticat 70′minutes
  • 9MitrovicSubstituted forPrijovicat 90′minutesBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 2Rukavina
  • 5Spajic
  • 7Zivkovic
  • 8Prijovic
  • 12Rajkovic
  • 13Veljkovic
  • 14Rodic
  • 16Grujic
  • 17Kostic
  • 18Radonjic
  • 19Jovic
  • 23Dmitrovic
Referee:
Malang Diedhiou

Match Stats

Home TeamCosta RicaAway TeamSerbia
Possession
Home53%
Away47%
Shots
Home10
Away10
Shots on Target
Home3
Away3
Corners
Home5
Away4
Fouls
Home18
Away15

Live Text

Posted at

Match ends, Costa Rica 0, Serbia 1.

Full Time

Posted at 90’+8′

Second Half ends, Costa Rica 0, Serbia 1.

Booking

Posted at 90’+8′

Aleksandar Prijovic (Serbia) is shown the yellow card.

Posted at 90’+8′

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Posted at 90’+7′

Video Review: Red Card. Referee decision on field cancelled.

Posted at 90’+7′

Delay in match (Costa Rica). Video Review.

Posted at 90’+5′

Offside, Costa Rica. Bryan Ruiz tries a through ball, but Christian Bolaños is caught offside.

Posted at 90’+5′

Attempt blocked. Bryan Ruiz (Costa Rica) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Óscar Duarte with a headed pass.

Posted at 90’+4′

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Posted at 90’+3′

Delay in match (Costa Rica).

Posted at 90’+3′

Daniel Colindres (Costa Rica) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 90’+3′

Foul by Nemanja Matic (Serbia).

Posted at 90’+3′

Attempt blocked. Óscar Duarte (Costa Rica) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Christian Bolaños with a cross.

Posted at 90’+2′

Corner, Costa Rica. Conceded by Aleksandar Kolarov.

Posted at 90’+1′

Attempt saved. Cristian Gamboa (Costa Rica) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Posted at 90’+1′

Daniel Colindres (Costa Rica) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Posted at 90’+1′

Foul by Dusko Tosic (Serbia).

Posted at 90′

Attempt missed. Filip Kostic (Serbia) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

Substitution

Posted at 90′

Substitution, Serbia. Aleksandar Prijovic replaces Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Posted at 88′

Johnny Acosta (Costa Rica) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 88′

Foul by Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Serbia).

Posted at 87′

Cristian Gamboa (Costa Rica) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Posted at 87′

Foul by Aleksandar Kolarov (Serbia).

Posted at 85′

Offside, Serbia. Aleksandar Kolarov tries a through ball, but Aleksandar Mitrovic is caught offside.

Substitution

Posted at 83′

Substitution, Serbia. Antonio Rukavina replaces Dusan Tadic.

Posted at 81′

Foul by Joel Campbell (Costa Rica).

Posted at 81′

Dusko Tosic (Serbia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 80′

Foul by Johnny Acosta (Costa Rica).

Posted at 80′

Aleksandar Mitrovic (Serbia) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Posted at 79′

Attempt blocked. Celso Borges (Costa Rica) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Posted at 79′

Attempt blocked. Joel Campbell (Costa Rica) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Cristian Gamboa.

Posted at 77′

Attempt blocked. Nemanja Matic (Serbia) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Aleksandar Kolarov with a headed pass.

Posted at 76′

Branislav Ivanovic (Serbia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 76′

Foul by Daniel Colindres (Costa Rica).

Posted at 75′

Attempt missed. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Serbia) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Dusan Tadic.

Posted at 74′

Foul by Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Serbia).

Posted at 74′

Johnny Acosta (Costa Rica) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Posted at 73′

Substitution, Costa Rica. Daniel Colindres replaces David Guzmán.

Posted at 72′

Corner, Costa Rica. Conceded by Nikola Milenkovic.

Posted at 71′

Foul by Nikola Milenkovic (Serbia).

goal

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Watch: 'Fantastic' Kolarov free-kick gives Serbia opening-game win

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Aleksandar Kolarov’s “fantastic” free-kick is the only goal of the game as Serbia beat Costa Rica 1-0 in Group E of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

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World Cup 2018: Costa Rica v Serbia – rate the players

Follow live coverage of Costa Rica v Serbia herehelpHow to playRate players out of 10 throughout or after the game. The rater will close 30 minutes after the final whistle.Rating range key1 = Give it up10 = Pure perfectionCosta RicaCosta RicaCosta Rica…

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'The night before your first World Cup game is when your nerves are worst' – Lampard column

Tunisia v England (19:00 BST on Monday, 18 June)How to follow:Watch live on BBC One and the BBC Sport website, listen on BBC Radio 5 liveI am confident England…

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England must embrace 'festival of football' – Southgate

Fifa World Cup: Tunisia v EnglandDate: Monday, 18 June (19:00 BST) Venue: Volgograd Arena, VolgogradCoverage: Watch the game live on BBC One, the BBC Sport website and app….

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World Cup Catch-Up: Lionel Messi misses on day of penalties

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Watch all the best action and funnies from the third day of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

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Modric seals Croatia win over Nigeria

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Croatia made a winning World Cup start against Nigeria, as Oghenekaro Etebo’s own goal and a Luka Modric penalty decided a poor Group D match in Kaliningrad.

Etebo, who joined Stoke City from Portuguese club Feirense for £6.35m on Monday, turned Modric’s first-half corner into his own net after Ante Rebic and Mario Mandzukic had both got touches.

Modric then converted a 71st-minute penalty – Croatia’s first shot on target – after William Troost-Ekong had manhandled Mandzukic at a corner.

Nigeria offered little attacking threat, although Dejan Lovren blocked Alex Iwobi’s shot just before half-time, and Odion Ighalo glanced a Brian Idowu cross straight at goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.

Victory takes Croatia top of their group, after Iceland held Argentina 1-1 earlier on Saturday.

Modric and Rakitic let down by off-form forwards

Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic<!–<!–[if lte IE 8]><![endif]–>

At 33, Modric is facing what could well be his final World Cup – along with striker Mandzukic, who is 32, and midfielder Ivan Rakitic, who turned 30 in March.

The Croatia captain won the Champions League for the fourth time in five seasons with Real Madrid in May, but his run up to Russia has hardly been smooth.

He has become unpopular in his homeland over a saga that has seen him charged with perjury – an offence that carries the threat of jail – for retracting his testimony in the tax fraud trial of a senior Croatian football official.

On the pitch, though, he has managed to put that to one side, and provided the class that guided Croatia to an unconvincing victory.

Both he and Rakitic were excellent in their passing, although the lack of movement among the forwards in front of them often thwarted their ambition.

When Croatia did create chances, it was usually their two creative midfielders who were involved. Modric’s fine early cross was guided down by Ivan Perisic for Mandzukic to fire over, while Andrej Kramaric’s header looped just over the crossbar from a Rakitic assist after half-time.

Rebic, who scored twice as Eintracht Frankfurt beat Bayern Munich to win the German Cup in May, later volleyed a great chance wide from six yards after Rakitic’s sublime pass had freed Perisic on the left.

Modric and Rakitic certainly have the ability to unlock the world’s best defences – but they will need help from those in front of them when they face better teams than Nigeria.

Nigeria fail to look the part

John Obi Mikel<!–<!–[if lte IE 8]><![endif]–>

Nigeria’s striking new home kit, dominated by bright green and white chevrons, proved very popular when it went on sale last month – so it was disappointing to see them in their muted away strip for their opening World Cup match.

By and large, Gernot Rohr’s inexperienced team were every bit as subdued as their shirts. Rohr’s side impressed in qualifying, finishing top of a group that included Cameroon and Algeria – but the German coach has travelled to Russia with a squad containing 18 World Cup finals debutants, and the players selected struggled on the big stage.

Etebo, despite his own goal, was one of their better performers, producing an excellent second-half pass out to the right that Victor Moses gathered and rolled wide of the near post after cutting inside.

Moses was a threat when delivering set-pieces, although his tendency to go to ground easily when challenged did him little credit.

Ighalo, on his 29th birthday, was isolated as a lone striker – his header from Idowu’s cross, in the 59th minute, was the first of just two efforts on target by the Super Eagles, although new Brighton signing Leon Balogun went close to heading in from a Moses corner at the start of the second half.

Arsenal forward Iwobi failed to make a significant impact, and Leicester’s Kelechi Iheanacho was unable to inspire a comeback when appearing as a substitute – leaving Rohr to fathom just where his team’s goals are going to come from.

Croatia 2-0 Nigeria: How you rated the players

Man of the match – Luka Modric (Croatia)

Luka Modric<!–<!–[if lte IE 8]><![endif]–>

No shots on target for 59 minutes – the key stats

  • Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo had the first shot on target in this match in the 59th minute – the longest wait for a first attempt on target in a World Cup match so far this tournament.
  • Croatia’s opening goals at Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018 have been own goals – Brazil’s Marcelo four years ago and Oghenekaro Etebo this time.
  • Nigeria became the first team in World Cup history to concede two consecutive own goals in the competition, with their last goal shipped in 2014, against France in the last 16, also coming in this manner.
  • Croatia have won their opening game of a World Cup for the first time since their debut in the competition in 1998 (3-1 against Jamaica).
  • Nigeria have lost each of their past seven World Cup games when conceding the first goal.
  • Croatia have scored in each of their past five World Cup games, their longest scoring streak in the competition.
  • Nigeria have lost their past three World Cup games, their longest run since a run of four between 1998 and 2002.

What’s next?

Croatia face Argentina in Nizhny Novgorod in their second Group D game on Thursday (19:00 BST), while Nigeria go to Volgograd to play Iceland. Both matches are live in the UK on BBC One.

Line-ups

Croatia

  • 23Subasic
  • 2Vrsaljko
  • 6Lovren
  • 21Vida
  • 3Strinic
  • 7RakiticBooked at 30mins
  • 10Modric
  • 4Perisic
  • 9KramaricSubstituted forBrozovicat 60′minutesBooked at 89mins
  • 18RebicSubstituted forKovacicat 78′minutes
  • 17MandzukicSubstituted forPjacaat 86′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Livakovic
  • 5Corluka
  • 8Kovacic
  • 11Brozovic
  • 12L Kalinic
  • 13Jedvaj
  • 14Bradaric
  • 15Caleta-Car
  • 16N Kalinic
  • 19Badelj
  • 20Pjaca
  • 22Pivaric

Nigeria

  • 23Uzoho
  • 12Shehu
  • 5Troost-EkongBooked at 70mins
  • 6Balogun
  • 2Idowu
  • 4Ndidi
  • 8Etebo
  • 18IwobiSubstituted forMusaat 62′minutes
  • 10MikelSubstituted forSimyat 88′minutes
  • 11Moses
  • 9IghaloSubstituted forIheanachoat 73′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Ezenwa
  • 3Echiéjilé
  • 7Musa
  • 13Simy
  • 14Iheanacho
  • 15Obi
  • 16Akpeyi
  • 17Onazi
  • 19Ogu
  • 20Awaziem
  • 21Ebuehi
  • 22Omeruo
Referee:
Sandro Meira Ricci
Attendance:
31,136

Match Stats

Home TeamCroatiaAway TeamNigeria
Possession
Home55%
Away45%
Shots
Home12
Away14
Shots on Target
Home2
Away2
Corners
Home6
Away5
Fouls
Home20
Away16

Live Text

Posted at

Match ends, Croatia 2, Nigeria 0.

Full Time

Posted at 90’+5′

Second Half ends, Croatia 2, Nigeria 0.

Posted at 90’+4′

Hand ball by Simy (Nigeria).

Posted at 90’+2′

Attempt saved. Mateo Kovacic (Croatia) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Marko Pjaca.

Posted at 90’+1′

Marko Pjaca (Croatia) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Posted at 90’+1′

Foul by William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria).

Posted at 90’+1′

Ivan Rakitic (Croatia) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Posted at 90’+1′

Foul by Simy (Nigeria).

Booking

Posted at 89′

Marcelo Brozovic (Croatia) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Posted at 89′

Foul by Marcelo Brozovic (Croatia).

Posted at 89′

Oghenekaro Etebo (Nigeria) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Posted at 88′

Foul by Luka Modric (Croatia).

Posted at 88′

Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Posted at 88′

Substitution, Nigeria. Simy replaces John Obi Mikel.

Posted at 87′

Attempt blocked. Victor Moses (Nigeria) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Kelechi Iheanacho.

Posted at 87′

Attempt missed. Oghenekaro Etebo (Nigeria) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Ahmed Musa.

Substitution

Posted at 86′

Substitution, Croatia. Marko Pjaca replaces Mario Mandzukic.

Posted at 85′

Hand ball by Mario Mandzukic (Croatia).

Posted at 84′

Ivan Perisic (Croatia) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Posted at 84′

Foul by Abdullahi Shehu (Nigeria).

Posted at 83′

Offside, Nigeria. Brian Idowu tries a through ball, but Kelechi Iheanacho is caught offside.

Posted at 82′

Attempt saved. Leon Balogun (Nigeria) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Oghenekaro Etebo.

Posted at 82′

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Posted at 81′

Delay in match Ivan Strinic (Croatia) because of an injury.

Posted at 81′

Delay in match Ahmed Musa (Nigeria) because of an injury.

Posted at 79′

Ivan Rakitic (Croatia) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Posted at 79′

Foul by Oghenekaro Etebo (Nigeria).

Substitution

Posted at 78′

Substitution, Croatia. Mateo Kovacic replaces Ante Rebic.

Posted at 77′

Attempt missed. Kelechi Iheanacho (Nigeria) left footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by John Obi Mikel.

Posted at 74′

Attempt blocked. Dejan Lovren (Croatia) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ivan Perisic with a headed pass.

Substitution

Posted at 73′

Substitution, Nigeria. Kelechi Iheanacho replaces Odion Ighalo.

Posted at 73′

Corner, Croatia. Conceded by William Troost-Ekong.

Goal!

Posted at 71′

Goal! Croatia 2, Nigeria 0. Luka Modric (Croatia) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

Booking

Posted at 70′

William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Posted at 69′

Penalty Croatia. Mario Mandzukic draws a foul in the penalty area.

Posted at 69′

Penalty conceded by William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria) after a foul in the penalty area.

Posted at 69′

Corner, Croatia. Conceded by Abdullahi Shehu.

Posted at 68′

Ivan Rakitic (Croatia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 68′

Foul by John Obi Mikel (Nigeria).

Posted at 66′

Foul by Ante Rebic (Croatia).

goal

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